Sunday, November 27, 2022

Intentional Advent at Trinity

How and Why are we being Intentional about Advent this year? (3rd of 3 Intro to Advent posts)

How are we being intentional this year?

Starting on December 1st through 24th, there will be daily Advent readings and posts.  You can download an Advent reading calendar HERE.  Coloring page copies and bookmarks are available at the church.

Over the four Sundays in December, there are going to be Christmas-focused sermons that move from Genesis 3 through Luke 2.

On December 4th, the keyword is Problem. Pastor Dave will be preaching about the need for a savior.

On December 11th, the keyword is Promise.  Pastor Jory will be preaching on the promise of a savior.

On December 18th , the keyword is Prophecy.  Pastor Jason will be preaching on the wait for a savior.

On December 25th the keyword is Presence.  Pastor Brett will be preaching on the birth of the Savior, Emmanuel, God with us.

Why we are being intentional this year?

“If we want to give our children the gift of clearer gospel understanding this Christmas, we must put more thought into how we lead them than we put into buying gifts and making Pinterest crafts.”

While an Advent theme, may not become an annual part of the Trinity’s December calendar, focusing our hearts and minds on Jesus needs to be a part of each of our daily lives all the time. 

Truth78, which has helped our children and family ministry, has a podcast episode entitled An Intentional Advent.  The podcast hosts talk about Advent in their families and the opportunity we all have to disciple the next generation this Advent season and beyond.  They refer to The Good News of Great Joy  Advent book.  You may choose to use this or another devotional for your family.  But we want to encourage you to join the Trinity church family for the Bible reading and themes we will be meditating on this Christmas season. 


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Why Advent?

Why Advent?  2nd of 3 Intro to Advent posts

In 2014, The Gospel Coalition posted an article “Three Christmas Pitfalls for Parents” - This article has served as a good reminder for me of lessons we can learn and re-learn during the very busy time leading up to Christmas.

I want to encourage you to read the entire article and at the same time here are the three pitfalls along with some key ideas from each pitfall and a modified version of #2 and #3 in parentheses to make them applicable for everyone, not only parents.

Three Christmas Pitfalls for Parents

Pitfall 1: How can I keep the world from hijacking Christmas?

The world doesn't define our celebration; we do, in obedience to God. 

We explain which elements of our celebration are simply fun, which are culturally significant, and which specifically celebrate Christ.  Instead of fearing the world, teach your children to engage culturally for the spread of the gospel.

Pitfall 2: Why should I give my kids gifts when they don’t need or deserve them?  (Why should I even bother with gifts during this consumeristic Christmas season?)

God gave us the gift of Christ—his birth, his death, and his resurrection—by grace. All gifts we place under the tree should be given in the same manner we’ve received Christ: freely.

Give gifts in an effort to cultivate a worshipful longing for Christ’s return.

Pitfall 3: How do I teach my kids to love Jesus more than Christmas presents?  (How can I help myself and others love Jesus more than Christmas presents?)

Because God gave us the greatest gift of love through Jesus, we can love our children by teaching them though gifts are fun, the joy they provide is temporary.  Salvation is the only gift that will eternally satisfy our longings. Don’t shame your children when you sense their greed; teach them. 

If you are tempted to make wild changes to your Christmas giving (scrapping all presents), pause. Realize you can’t shock children into godliness. 

Tomorrow’s post is about how and why we are being intentional about Advent in 2022.

Friday, November 25, 2022

What is Advent?

What is Advent? (1st of 3 Intro to Advent posts)

There are two different ways Advent can be celebrated.
Churches can have Advent readings and candles on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
Individuals can do Advent readings and activities beginning December 1.
This year, we are going to do a mix of both

This word Advent has several definitions that will help you understand why using an Advent devotional/reading during this time of the year is helpful. These definitions are taken from My thoughts are in italics.
  1. arrival, approach - Advent celebrates the arrival of the Messiah - Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. It also reminds Christ-followers of the hope we have that Jesus is coming again.
  2. invasion, incursion - Advent reminds us of our sin problem. While Jesus did come as a baby in a manger, His purpose was to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). He did this through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. He is the light in a dark world. He came for God's glory and so that we could have victory over sin.
  3. ripening - Of the four definitions given this is the one that might seem the strangest at first. However when you consider one of Merriam-Webster's definitions of "ripening" - to bring to completeness or perfection, along with Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 5:6-8, it provides a great visual reminder. The time was ripe for Jesus' birth.
  4. visit, appearance - Advent is about so much more than a baby in a stable. It is about the appearance of God's grace, Jesus, who brings salvation (Titus 2:11). It also reminds us that Jesus will appear again (Titus 2:13).
We are not commanded to celebrate Advent throughout December. However, we are told to consider who Jesus is and what He has done for us (Hebrews 3:1-2; Hebrews 10:19-25; Hebrews 12:3).

Let’s use this Advent season to do what we should be doing all the time, glorying God by making much of Jesus Christ.

November 27

Community Kids
Toddler  SS
Jesus fed a multitude -
Jesus provides for our needs.
John 6:1-14
Ps 92:1

PreK/ K SS
God’s grace for Isaac -
God sent Jesus to die in our place
Gen 22:1-19
Gen 22:8

1st  SS
God saved his people alive
God wants us to recognize his plan for our good
Gen 41 – 45; 50
Ps 37:5

2nd-3rd SS
God preserved life
God’s plan is always for the good of his people
Gen 42-50
Gen 50:20

4th–5th SS
Biology Lessons
God’s creation of all living things is evident in biology.
Gen. 1:11, 12, 20, 21, 24, 25; Ps. 139:14-16
2 Cor 4:4

1st–5th  CC
God raises up judges
God cares how we treat him
Judges 1 – 3
Judges 2:18

Friday, November 18, 2022

November 20

This Sunday mornings class and AM service were canceled.
Part of this post is designed to provide some things for parents to do with their children.
These resources are based on the 1st - 5th grade Children's Church lesson on Joshua 23 and 24.  

HERE is the note sheet for the 1st through 5th graders.
HERE are several graphics for Joshua 24:15.
HERE is a pdf script to use when doing the lesson.

The lesson is a good reminder all of the time and especially leading up to Thanksgiving.
Choose to worship God.  The passage is filled with Joshua's thanks for what God had done.

Lesson Script:

Game - Choose between two.
    1. Have family members gather in the middle of the room.  If you are doing this on your own, take the following survey  The survey is also at the end of this post.  Even if you do the activity, you can go back and do the survey.
    2. Put one item in one kind of fruit in one hand and the other kind in the other.
    3. Move to one side of the room for one item and the other side for the other item.
    4. Ask, why they choose the fruit they choose.
    5. Ask, would you change your mind if your chosen fruit started tasting like an old tennis shoe?
    6. Do steps 2 - 5 with candy bars and substitute another gross item in step 5.
    7. Do steps 2 - 4 with a snack item they can eat at the end.  
    8. Suppose God was on the right side of the room.  What might be one the other side?  (What are opposites of God?  The devil, sin, or idols)
    9. Why would you choose God? 
    10. Would there ever be a time when choosing to worship and serve God would be a bad choice?  Why not?  (God never changes.  He is faithful.  He never stops being good, kind, and loving)
In Joshua 23 and 24, Joshua calls on the nation of Israel to commit to serving and worshiping the one true God instead of idols and false gods.

Work on the memory verse for the last couple of weeks:  Joshua 23:14b
you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that
not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke
concerning you has failed; they all have been fulfilled for you,
not one of them has failed.

The final two chapters of Joshua are filled with reasons to worship and praise God.

Read Joshua 23:1 - 3

How were the Israelites able to conquer the nations that lived in the Promised Land?  (They trusted God.  He fought with them and for them.)

Think back over this quarter's lesson and answer this questions.  What had God done to show His power to the Israelites?  (He delivered them from Egypt when they were slaves; He parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River; He gave them manna and quail when they were hungry; He knocked down the walls of Jericho so they could defeat their enemy)

When we look back at what God has done in our lives, we should be filled with love for Him and desire to worship Him.  This is what Joshua wanted the Israelites to do.

Read Joshua 23:6, 7 

What did Joshua remind the people to do?  (Obey)

What did Joshua remind the people not to do?  (Worship false gods)

Read Joshua 23:9, 10, 14

How many of God's promises has He failed to keep? (None of them)

What does that tell us about God?  (He is faithful)  
God requires committment

Look through Joshua 24:1 - 13, which is on the pdf sheet at the beginning of this post.

Find the 18 "I" pronouns in this passage and what God ("I") did in each of those situations.

Because God had done so much for the Israelites how should they have responded to Him?

Read Joshua 24:14
The Israelites needed to serve, respect and obey God alone! 
His faithfulness to them meant that they should worship God with their whole hearts.

Read Joshua 24:15
Joshua made Israel's choice clear.  They could not have their false gods and worship the one true God too.
Now they must choose.  Who would they serve:  False idols or God?

Read Joshua 24:16 -18, 24
Joshua chose to worship and serve God alone.  The people followed and promised to serve God alone.  Joshua told them they wouldn't.  His point was that God is always faithful but people are not.  We all let God down at some point in our lives.
But God never, ever, lets us down.  His faithfulness is everlasting.

We are not Israelites but God calls us to worship and serve Him just the same.  
Read Romans 12:1

Notice what it says.

Next week in class we are going to quickly review this lesson by making rock reminders.   Throughout the book of Joshua, the Israelites use rocks and piles of rocks as markers for something God did.  

This week's missionaries are the Pool's

Toddler  SS
Jesus thanked God for food
Jesus thanked God for food.
John 6:1-14
Ps 92:1

PreK/ K SS
God’s grace for Abraham
God’s plan to provide salvation cannot be stopped
Gen 18:1-15; 21:1-7
Gen 18:14

1st  SS
God remembered Joseph
God wants to trust him through disappointments
Gen 39, 40
Ps 40:1, 3b

2nd-3rd SS
God helped Joseph in Egypt
God’s plan includes his enabling presence
Gen 39-41
Heb 13:5, 6

4th–5th SS
The Earth Speaks
God’s judgment on the world is evident in geology.
Gen. 7:11, 12, 17-24; 8:1-5; Isa. 45:18; Rom. 8:19-23
Gen 7:20, 22

1st–5th  CC
Joshua Challenges Israel
God is worthy of our sincere worship and devotion
Josh 23; 24
Josh 23:21b

Friday, November 11, 2022

November 13

Toddler  SS
Jesus showed love for children
Jesus wants little children to believe in Him.
Matt 19:13-15;  Mk 10:13-16
Mark 10:14

PreK/ K SS
God’s grace for sinners -
God promised to provide salvation
Gen 12:1-9, 15
Gen 12:3

1st  SS
God went with Joseph
God wants us to trust him even when troubles come
Gen 37
Gen 39:2a

2nd-3rd SS
God used Joseph’s brothers
God’s plans will always come to pass
Gen 37
Prov 16:9

4th–5th SS
God’s Grace in a Wicked World
God spared the world by His grace.
Gen. 6:1–9:17
Heb 11:7

1st–5th  CC
God provides victory in the land
God blesses those who diligently obey him.
Josh 10, 11
Josh 23:14b

Friday, November 4, 2022

November 6

This week's prayer focus is our Retirees

Age-specific Sunday School and Children's Church info follows the Kids in Church info.  This includes some more info about the lesson the 1st - 5th graders would have had in class.

For General Info about Kids in Church Sundays, go to

Click for pdf of notes

Kid's Sermon Notes will be at the communication center by the upstairs elevator door.

To help the 1st - 5th graders listen to Sunday's sermon on Acts 20:25-38 I want to provide a couple of specific helps.
  1. Before the sermon, read through Acts 20:25 - 38 with your child before the sermon.
  2. During the sermon, make sure your child has the Bible opened up to the passage.
  3. During the sermon, challenge to child to be an active listener.  Pick up a note sheet for him or her.  
    • Note sheets will be at the Community Center/bulletin board - upstairs by the elevator.
    • Three ways to use the sheet
      • the Nose, Tongue, Eyes, and Heart outline
      • Alphabet Listening.  On back listen for keywords that begin with each letter of the alphabet
      • Drawing What Your Hear.  Draw a picture of words or ideas you hear in the sermon or a song
  4. After the sermon, talk about the sermon.  A post with some talking points for families will be made available at 12:15 pm.
Specific helpful links,


Toddler  SS
Jesus shared love for children -
Jesus loves meeting children’s needs.
Matthew 18:1-14
Mark 10:14

PreK/ K SS
God’s grace for the nations -
God wants us to obey his commands
Gen 11:1 – 26
Ps 145:9

1st  SS
God revealed his presence
God is with us and working out his plan
Gen 28:1 – 5, 10 – 22
Heb 13:5b

2nd-3rd SS
God taught Jacob to trust
God wants us to trust his plans
Gen 28:1-5; 10-22; 29:1-30:24; 32; 33; 35
Prov 3:5, 6

4th–5th SS
Solution for Sin
God provided His grace as the solution to sin.
Gen. 3:16–4:26
Rom 5:18

1st–5th  CC

Gibeonites use Joshua 9.
Last week was Halloween, a day when children dress up to walk around and get treats from neighbors.
Gibeonites, who lived in the Promised Land, tricked (acted craftily) the Israelites by dressing in worn out clothes and telling them they came from a land far away.
Rather than turn to God like Rahab had done, these idol-worshiping nations decided to ban together to trick Israel.  They pretended to be something they were not in order to deceive the Israelites.

Joshua 9:14b is such an important verse to remember with an action we must not repeat.
The Israelites "did not ask counsel from the Lord."
God wants us to seek his will for important decisions

The reason we must remember to do this is found in this week's memory verse.

Josh 23:14b

"you know in all your hearts and 
in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed; they all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed"

God is faithful and never fails, which is one of the reasons we must always seek him.